walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich

On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich


Postby Joey » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:02 pm

Route description: A' Mharconaich and Geal Charn, Drumochter

Munros included on this walk: A' Mharconaich, Geal-charn (Drumochter)

Date walked: 09/10/2016

Time taken: 5 hours

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

These two hills offer a gentle day out as when you arrive at the ample car park in front of the Balsporran B&B, you’re already pretty high up! :lol: And if the weather is kind, some stunning views await.

This was my first solo hill walk as I'd put out a call on the WH website for some company to no avail :(. The old me would've binned the idea of walking on my own, but the forecast was so good, the new me talked myself into doing it :clap: So I poured over the walk reports of others as they add an extra layer of rich information provided by the already fantastic walk description on the WH website. The walk has four boots, so wasn’t sure if I was biting off more than I could chew. However, the day was as good as you’ll get weather wise, so I felt reasonably comfortable about tackling these two on my own and set off from the car park at 9.30am on a beautiful Sunday morning humming James Brown’s “I feel good.....” :lol:

Once over the level crossing, the first key instruction on the WH description was to ignore the first track turning right. I turned right. In my defence, it was because a burn was mentioned and as I’d already crossed one of sorts (completely forgetting mention of a bridge), I assumed I’d reached the second fork and missed the first one.........instructions and moi are not natural bedfellows. :roll: :roll:
wrongpath.jpg
The Wrong Path!

I quickly realised my mistake as I could see two walkers heading up Geal Charn and there was a ravine opening up between me and them so I turned back to the first fork and soon reached the ‘real burn’ and crossed the bridge. Shortly after, the next fork appeared and I turned right and headed up the path. So no harm done! :lol:
rightpath.jpg
The Right Path!

viewtomealchuach.jpg
Looking over to Meall Chuaich

endoftrack.jpg
End of the road....

The track suddenly comes to an end and a path takes its place but disappears here and there and I imagine the way up would be pretty boggy if we hadn’t enjoyed such a fine spell of dry weather during late September and October. It’s a very straightforward walk up the shoulder and I soon reached the first cairn (which you can see from the road on a clear day), and stopped for a wee cup of tea to take in the views.
cairn1.jpg
First cairn

viewtogealcharn.jpg
Route up to Geal Charn's summit

It was then an easy stroll from the first cairn to the summit of Geal Charn. I spent quite a while there, taking in the splendid views of Loch Ericht and Ben Alder and other magnificent hills I don't know the names of...... :roll: I only had my phone with me, so the photo quality isn’t great, but gives you an idea of what you’ll enjoy when you reach the summit (cloud permitting)! I used the walk from the first cairn to the summit to practice my navigation skills as I imagine if cloud was low, it would be easy to get disorientated. :clap:
gealsummit.jpg
Geal Charn Summit Cairn

viewtolochericht2.jpg
Looking over Loch Ericht

view4.jpg
Colin Prior, eat your heart out!

I then turned my attention to the next target – A’Mharconaich. This was when my inner chimp popped up and tried to persuade me to turn back the way I’d come and head back to the car. :( It didn’t look particularly daunting and the way was clear but the two walkers I’d seen earlier had disappeared and I couldn’t see another soul. There is something a bit disconcerting about being on your own in the wilderness. :? But I knew I’d be really annoyed with myself if I didn’t complete both munros, so I told the chimp to shut it :lol: and headed off down using the track in the distance as the next target to reach.
A'Mharchonaich.jpg
A blurry A'Mharconaich! Colin Prior clearly has nothing to fear.

pathdownA'Marconaich.jpg
Way down to A'Marconaich

As I headed down towards the track, the two walkers I’d seen earlier came into view and it looked like they were heading the same way as me. That settled me down and I sped up so I could keep them in sight! :lol:

Once on the track, I caught up with the couple and we stopped for a chat. They weren’t sure where they were going and said they’d follow me! :lol: I said I didn’t think there was a path – there certainly wasn’t one mentioned in the walk description, so it was a case of just heading up and bearing slightly left as per WH instructions. I set off up the hill, stopping a few times to look back, but the couple were soon far behind me and after a while I lost sight of them altogether. I perched myself on a rock for a while to see if they’d reappear, eating a bag of wine gums in the process (what is it about wine gums that you can’t just eat one or two – you have to eat the whole lot in one go – or is that just me?), I eventually saw them heading up Geal Charn. They’d obviously decided to abort and return they way they’d come. I panicked slightly for a moment, :( wondering why, but decided to get a grip and pressed on. :D

lookingtogealcharn.jpg
Looking back over to Geal Charn

I was soon on the plateau and headed along to the summit cairn, where I sat down for a well deserved lunch. I was so chuffed with myself for not giving in to the chimp and getting myself to the second munro. Ah, isn’t life good?
selfie.jpg
Must get the hang of selfies......summit cairn A'Mharconaich

Summit2.jpg
Summit of A'Mharconaich

Tea and sandwiches demolished, and buoyed by my success (I know, I’m a lightweight), I briefly toyed with the idea of heading over to Beinn Udlamain, as it was only gone 1pm, and the day was still fine, but I didn’t want to push my luck and decided instead to head down and swing into Aviemore on the way home for a nose round my favourite outdoor shop to covet this season’s display of new skis and boots – maybe next year. :D
downthenose.JPG
Downhill from here

waydown.jpg
Path down from A'Mharconaich

From the cairn, I followed the clear path down the nose keeping away from the corrie on my right. It’s initially quite steep, with a bit of loose stone, so take care as you could easily end up on your backside. It was also at this point I remembered I hadn’t trimmed my toenails.......... :shock: :shock:
Lookingback.jpg
Looking back up at the corrie

Lower down, it’s rough and very boggy and I bore left as instructed. I spotted a little green bridge over the burn and headed for that. The bridge wasn’t mentioned in the walk description (I was expecting to have to find a decent place to cross), so it was a welcome surprise. :lol:
bridge.jpg
The welcome bridge!

Once over the bridge, I just climbed up a wee bit onto the track and after a last glance back at A'Mharconaich, it was simply a case of following the track back to the car.
sunset.jpg
Looking back at A'Mharconaich

So, two straightforward munros on a fine day and a real confidence booster. If there was low cloud it would certainly be a bit more daunting and it’s a hill I would really like to revisit in the winter when the snow arrives, as now that I know it, it would be a good introduction to winter walking. I think the only dodgy bit would be coming down the initial steep bit of A’Mharconaich and making sure you stayed well to the left of the corrie to avoid any cornices.

I hope newbies to these two fine hills will find this report helpful!
User avatar
Joey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 69
Munros:25   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   
Joined: Jul 29, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich

Postby mrssanta » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:03 pm

Well done on your first solo outing.
Your pictures are lovely
User avatar
mrssanta
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2836
Munros:223   Corbetts:10
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:44
Wainwrights:40   
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich

Postby Joey » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:38 pm

mrssanta wrote:Well done on your first solo outing.
Your pictures are lovely

Thanks! Onwards and upwards :)
User avatar
Joey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 69
Munros:25   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   
Joined: Jul 29, 2013
Location: Inverness

Re: On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:33 pm

Great report on two underrated hills!

You mention trying them in winter - I was there in March ( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=60915 ) and they were a very enjoyable walk, I found it good even after having a week of more dramatic hills further west.

Thanks for posting!

Tim
User avatar
HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 554
Munros:82   Corbetts:9
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Hewitts:146
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

Re: On ma tod on Geal Charn and A'Mharconaich

Postby Joey » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:13 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:Great report on two underrated hills!

You mention trying them in winter - I was there in March ( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=60915 ) and they were a very enjoyable walk, I found it good even after having a week of more dramatic hills further west.

Thanks for posting!

Tim


I know, they are underrated! I much prefer round to spiky!! Great report from you. Looking forward to going back once the snow arrives.
User avatar
Joey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 69
Munros:25   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   
Joined: Jul 29, 2013
Location: Inverness

4 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Avocetboy, Geramag, mac13, stacyallan91, turbosmurf and 22 guests